Australia has farewelled a Royal Australian Navy ship that has served the country for over three decades in a ceremony today on Sydney Harbour.
The weather was fickle all week but cleared to blue skies just in time for 800 current and former ship's company, friends and familie, to attend the traditional goodbye.
The Governor-General, His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove, AK MC (Retd), together with the Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, and Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Tim Barrett attended the decommissioning of HMAS Sydney (IV), at her homeport of Garden Island, Sydney.
Minister Payne paid tribute to the service of ship’s company past and present.
“It is important to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of the current and former crews who have called Sydney home,” Minister Payne said
The Australian White Ensign was lowered from the ship for the last time, and handed to Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander David Murphy, as is the tradition for Navy during decommissioning ceremonies.
Minister Payne said the fourth Royal Australian Navy ship to bear the name Sydney had a proud history stretching over 32 years.
“The ship has served Australia with distinction including during active service to Kuwait in 1991, East Timor in 1999, and subsequent deployments to the Middle East; earning a Meritorious Unit Citation during the First Gulf War,” Minister Payne said.
During the conduct of maritime operations spanning the globe, Sydney steamed 959,627 nautical miles across operations in locations including Fiji, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
“More recently Sydney has been tasked in border protection operations and major coalition exercises.
“Her last mission, which concludes in December this year, is the important Harbour Training Ship role providing the vital technical training that our next generation of sailors need for the new capability on the Royal Australian Navy’s horizon,” Minister Payne said.
Sydney was built at the Todd Pacific Shipyards in Seattle, Washington, in the United States and commissioned in 1983. Her commissioning crew trained there for just over 12 months before sailing for Australian waters. Sydney is being decommissioned to make way for the Hobart class guided missile destroyers, which will provide Australia with an improved war fighting capability.
Imagery is available on the Navy Image Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20153042.